Growing up with little to his name, poor country lawyer Benjamin Ross dreams of impacting the world for the better. When introduced to the Smiths he's taken by Susanna's intelligence and independent spirit, but her parents refuse to see him as a suitor for their daughter.
When the life of a runaway indentured servant is threatened, Susanna is forced to choose between justice and mercy, and Ben becomes her unlikely advisor. But drawing closer to this man of principle and intellect lands her in a dangerous, secret world of rebellion and revolution against everything she once held dear.
Review:Jody Hedlund is both a competent and talented author. Rebellious Heart reflects both these qualities. I have been wanting to read it for quite some time, as I’ve read excellent reviews by prominent authors. In some ways it met my expectations. In others it disappointed them.
I fully expected this book to be based upon John and Abigail Adams’ courtship. However, I did not realize how loosely the story would revolve around it. The main characters—Ben and Susanna—in no way that I could see resembled John and Abigail. Only after reading the Author’s Note in the end did I realize how similar Susanna and Ben were to this famous couple. However, if the reader did not read the Author’s Note then he would have no idea how much Susanna and Ben are like the Adams’s. I was a little disappointed because of that. However, I understand why the author chose to do so. By choosing fictional names she was able to be much more imaginative with the plot and characters.
The romantic tension between Ben and Susanna was well-written and—for the most part—believable. They kissed too early in the story. At least, early in that they did not make a commitment to one another before they kissed. I believe the couple should be at least engaged before they kiss.
I thought the author did a really good job of developing Susanna’s flaws as well as virtues. Susanna was heavily influenced by her mother, who did love her and want what was best for her but was sometimes overbearing in her manner and wrong in her judgments. Susanna had to learn that—ultimately—it was her choice what kind of life she wanted to live. Not her mother’s.
Ben was a strong character with two main flaws. Number one being pride. Because of his pride he sometimes made more trouble for himself than he needed to have. He was also—at the beginning—self-seeking. Which is a surprising and bold flaw, since it could possibly bring the character’s likeability down in the eyes of the reader. But I applaud the author for taking that chance. I still liked Ben, despite those very noticeable flaws. In the end, he learned to love not for himself but for the one he loved.
I give Rebellious Heart 31/2 out of 5 stars.